Hypotonia is more of a symptom rather than an ailment. It is the loss of muscle that can occur due to a number of underlying problems like neurological and non-neurological issues. In case of neurological issues, the patient’s nerves or the nervous system may be affected. In most of the cases it leads to loss of muscle. Hypotonia can be of two types – Central Hypotonia and Peripheral Hypotonia.
Central Hypotonia occurs when the signals from the muscle get disrupted to the brain or spinal cord level, whereas in case of peripheral Hypotonia, there is a damage to the nerves between the muscle and the spinal cord.
What conditions lead to peripheral Hypotonia?
The non-neurological conditions that can lead to Peripheral Hypotonia are listed below:
Down’s Syndrome: This is a genetic birth defect that prevents the normal growth of the body and affects one’s hearing capabilities.
Prader-Willi Syndrome: It is a rare symptom which is genetic in nature. Common symptoms include permanent hunger, slow growth and difficulties in learning.
Tay-Sachs’ Disease: One of the most fatal genetic disorders, it can affect the nervous system and bring about progressive damage. However, it is a rare disorder.
Congenital Hypothyroidism: A child is born with an under developed thyroid gland. This in the long run affects the child’s growth and well being.
Marfan Syndrome & Ehlers Danlos Syndrome: A genetic disorder that affects the connective tissues that support and provide structure to the organs and other tissues.
Connective tissue disorders: Collagen that provides support and strength to the body’s tissues gets affected in this condition.
Premature birth: If a baby is born prior to the completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy, the baby might suffer from poor or damaged muscle growth.
What conditions lead to Central Hypotonia?
The neurological conditions that can lead to Central Hypotonia are listed below:
Cerebral Palsy: When a child at birth suffers from neurological problems it can affect the child’s co-ordination and movement leading to cerebral palsy.
Spinal cord or brain injury: This includes bleeding in the brain tissues.
Serious infections: one might experience serious infections that can prove to be fatal in the long-run. Common types include meningitis and encephalitis.
Can Hypotonia occur in the later stages of one’s life?
Although Hypotonia occurs in the initial stages of one’s life, but certain cases have been registered where the child suffered from Hypotonia when he became an adult. These are far and few cases in between. The above mentioned causes can lead to this condition, later in one’s life, but there are some other causes too, which are discussed below:
Multiple Sclerosis: In this condition, the myelin that covers the nerve fibres is often damaged, and thus interfere with the ability of the nerves to transfer electrical signals from the brain to the other parts of the body including spinal cord.
Motor Neuron Disease: In this situation, there is a progressive damage to the motor nerves which in turn affects the growth of the muscles.
All the above mentioned conditions affect mobility, coordination and balance. The moment you notice any one or more of the above mentioned symptoms, visit a doctor immediately. It is important to visit a registered medical practitioner and seek medical advice. Visiting a specialist like a neurologist who deals with neurological & neuro-muscular conditions is the best bet. Several tests will be carried out to find out the root cause of this condition.